The Pursuit of Happiness

What makes you happy? Ponder on that question for a moment before continuing on reading and if possible write your answers on a piece of paper.


No doubt, there are many varied answers to this question amongst those of you reading this column today. What were your answers based on? What in your opinion is happiness? 


For some, their happiness depends on the amount of money they have and having the finer things in life, for others it may be the simpler things in life such as spending time with loved ones.


By definition happiness is, “The quality or state of being happy; delighted, pleased or glad as over a particular thing. It is good fortune, pleasure, contentment or joy.”


I would like to add that happiness is a state of mind. Your happiness should not be dependent on things or what is going on in your life at the time but it is really your attitude, your outlook or perspective on life that determines your happiness. You can be happy if you choose to.


Some people spend their entire lives pursuing happiness. In pursuing a career or relationship etc. they feel like once they would have achieved that which they were pursuing, they will be happy. However, the achievement of your goals does not guarantee happiness.


Our natural tendency is to think that happiness is impossible because of the many issues of life. Once everything in our lives is going smoothly then we feel that we can be happy. How often, though, does this happen; how often is everything in your life going smoothly?


Even when we may feel like we have a period when everything seems to be going smooth in life, trouble is ‘right around the corner.’ Therefore if we wait for our lives to be perfect or everything to be smooth, it will never happen or if any, there may just be short bursts of happiness at intervals in life.


It must therefore be much more than external events in life that makes us happy. Naturally such things as accomplishing a goal, getting married, having children, getting a new home or car etc. makes one happy. While these may be happy occasions in life, they do not bring permanent happiness. 


What is happening around you, the people in your life or your life’s assets will not make you happy. Happiness is something that radiates outwards, no matter what your life situation. It comes from the inside. It is genuinely who you are.


Happiness, of course, is the opposite of sadness. One may therefore wonder how is it that someone can always be happy when at times he/she will encounter sad situations such as the loss of loved ones. Happy people have hope no matter the situation while sad people live with apathy and grief. We all face times of happiness and sadness, but a happy person faces even sorrow with happiness.  


In your pursuit of happiness, consider developing the following qualities that according to an Internet blog, “Mystic Madness,” are the five qualities of a happy person:


Respecting oneself:  Happy people always respect themselves. They feel good about who they are. They do not live with regrets instead they continually try to better their lives. 


Forgiveness and Generosity: These are qualities which every human being possesses and which the Bible teaches but people do not practice because of jealousy, hatred and selfishness. A happy person always tries to forgive his enemies and be generous to others. He tries to overcome bad qualities like jealousy, meanness and a revengeful attitude. 


Optimism: This is the main quality which a happy person possesses. Without this quality it is hard for anyone to live a happy life. Optimism gives a person a positive outlook towards life and helps the person to move forward in spite of the situation. 


We hear stories of a handicapped person swimming in the water and winning a game or a cancer patient winning a cycle race and so on. This comes from having a positive outlook towards life. These people do not give up and become depressed because of their handicaps or situations instead they are determined to overcome


Living in The Present: “Past is buried heap and future is an unknown destiny.” So try to live in the present. A happy person lives in the present making the best of that time. Happy people do not dwell on the past nor worry about the future. They realize that they can never change the past and that their future is not in their hands. The only thing which is in our hands is the present time. If we act in the present, we can improve our future. 


Avoiding Apprehensions or Worries: A happy person does not live in fear. He realizes that fear is unproductive and it keeps him back in life; it destroys the hope to live. Therefore he tries everything and even if he fails, he learns from his mistakes and life goes on. So he avoids having feelings of apprehension or worries and lives life.


Now that you have a better idea of what happiness is, I ask you again, what makes you happy? Review your answers that you wrote down or thought about when you began reading this article. Some of you may have a new outlook and therefore new answers while others may have always had their priorities straight.


Have a happy day or better yet, live a happy life!


• Questions or comments on this article may be sent to


Published  Thursday, February 16, 2017 


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